Today was not a scheduled posting day since I am getting ready for hernia repair surgery in the morning. The thought of this surgery along with the idea of being put under general anesthesia is so not appealing that if I had a choice I would rather walk bare foot on hot coals. However I don’t have a choice and unless I wimp out at the last minute I will be getting my abdomen ripped open and repaired. So with that sort of thing on my mind you can see where writing a post would not be a top priority.
However I took part in a discussion today that while I had no energy to get into a verbal sparring match with this person, made me realize I needed to write to do some venting. Long story short the conversation was about young folks who make poor choices and end up dropping out of school but in Maine there is a push to get such folks enrolled in GED programs. Which might not be a bad thing…anyway the person I was conversing with made a very throw away comment that GED‘s are horrible and that kids who choose such a path are relegated to a shitty life.
Um….I don’t think my life is so horrible. For years I out-and-out lied about my early years because of the shame that generally comes from telling someone you are a high school dropout. Yet in the past few years I have started to realize that telling my story especially with youngsters on the edge is a good thing, its one of the reasons I do the work I do. See, not only did I not graduate from high school; I actually never got a GED. I know you are wondering, but didn’t you go to college and later graduate school? Yes, I did. I have no idea if a kid can even do this anymore but a year after dropping out of high school, I went to a community college and before enrolling I took what used to be called the ability to benefit test. It’s exactly what it sounds like, you get a passing score on this test and are deemed to have the ability to benefit from taking college courses and voila you are in school. I took classes at the community college and eventually transferred into a 4 year college and later went on to earn my bachelor’s degree. By the time I applied to graduate school, no on was asking whether or not I had graduated from high school.
I was not only a high school dropout but having a kid at 19 actually means I was a teenage Mom to boot. Statistically, it means I should have 5-6 kids, live in government subsidized housing and if I am lucky have a job as the night clerk at Wal-Mart. Obviously none of those things are applicable to my life.
Yet the point of this is not to say look at me, but to actually say that mistakes including the big ones do not define us. There is more than one pathway to success and hell, how are we even defining success? For most folks success might include a big house, nice car, important job, vacations and fancy toys. Yet none of these things are guaranteed to make you happy. I see plenty of folks who lack all those things yet seem pretty damn happy. I think of my family that just had their 5th kid, they don’t even have car and I saw the Dad walking home loaded down with groceries yet noticed he seemed content. I see his kids daily and to be honest they may lack most of what some of us consider essential but they appear well fed, clean and most importantly happy. This family by the standards of my buddy is a failure yet who are we to judge?
I think especially with young folks it’s so important to let them know that even if they make choices that may seem wrong and generally dropping out of school and having babies is not considered a good choice (let me tell you I get a laugh at the number of folks who look at me like how is it possible that I could have an 18yo kid..After all I am a college graduate in a “good” job. Dude, no one said you have to do life in some type of order) that life goes on and that as long as they are living the sky is still the limit. Yes, it is a lot harder when you lack a minimal amount of education and or skills to get a job that pays a living wage. Though, I found bad paying jobs to be a great incentive to make different choices.
Even if you are not a young person, maybe you are more established yet find yourself becoming a single Mama. It’s not the end of the world and you may find it’s the beginning of a brand new world. As long as you draw breath shit will happen, what you do after that shit happens is what matters most.
Readers, I will catch ya later, if you are the praying type I would appreciate your prayers and good thoughts during this surgery. I doubt I will be up for any blog postings anytime soon, but if you follow me on Twitter I may post a few tweets if I feel up to it. Have a great week!